El Monte (Spanish for “the mountain”) is a residential, industrial, and commercial city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The city lies in the San Gabriel Valley, east of the city of Los Angeles.
El Monte’s slogan is “Welcome to Friendly El Monte” and historically is known as “The End of the Santa Fe Trail”. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 113,475, down from 115,965 at the 2000 census. As of 2019, El Monte was the 54th-largest city in California.
El Monte is situated between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers; residents claimed that anything could be grown in the area. Between 1770 and 1830, Spanish soldiers and missionaries often stopped here for respite. They called the area ‘El Monte,’ which in Spanish means ‘the mountain’ or ‘the mount’. Most people assume the name refers to a mountain, but there were no mountains in the valley. The word is an archaic Spanish translation of that era, meaning “the wood”. The first explorers had found this a rich, low-altitude land blanketed with thick growths of wispy willows, alders, and cattails, located between the two rivers. Wild grapevines and watercress also abounded. El Monte is approximately 7 miles long and 4 miles wide. When the State Legislature organized California into more manageable designated townships in the 1850s, they called it the El Monte Township. In a short time the name returned to the original El Monte.
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